We interrupt the Tokyo - Kyoto - Osaka series just briefly for a fun post on some Japanese anime inspired dishes I made for my birthday.
Yes, today's my birthday.
It's been interesting looking at my blog and seeing what I've done in past years to celebrate. Time flies so quickly, it's kind of crazy!
In 2010 I had the privilege of being in Tokyo on my birthday (what a treat!), where I shopped for fun kitchen gadgets during the day in Kappabashi and then enjoyed a wacky, creative tasting menu at Tapas Molecular Bar in the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo - complete with stunning views of Tokyo down below.
In 2011, we stayed in Boston, enjoying a fabulous white Alba truffle tasting at the Chef's Table at Menton. And in 2012, we were in Australia celebrating Bryan's parents' retirement. After hiking all day in the Blue Mountains, we headed over to Din Tai Fung in Sydney for dinner. Yep, they let me pick any restaurant I wanted and that's what I chose.
What a crazy past five years!
This year I had a bit of fun with some Totoro and Domokun themed dishes that I made. Here's how I did it.
I made the Totoro Carrot by carving out one of my big carrots from my Siena Farms CSA. This mainly involves having lots of patience and using high quality knives. The eyes are cut from the thin root tip of a parsnip (I picked a part of the root where the circumference was the right size).
The belly is also parsnip, from a thicker part of the root. The eyes are black sesame seeds, and the nose is cut out from a purple carrot, though you can use almost any sort of dark colored thin sheet (e.g., eggplant skin, nori, etc). The leaf on his head is cilantro and his belly lines are bits of leeks.
Totoro soba noodles are really easy to make. Once you make the cold soba according to the package's instructions, just lay the noodles down on a plate (ideally on top of some sort of green background, like a bed of lettuce + scallions) and shape it accordingly. The eyes are parsnip, the eye balls are purple kohlrabi skin (though you can use eggplant, nori, etc), and the belly is kohlrabi as well. I used either a sharp knife or a pair of scissors to cut out the appropriate shapes.
I carved out the Domokun from a huge purple kohrabi I had received in my farm share last week. The pink inside his mouth is a thinly sliced watermelon radish, which I sort of tucked inside underneath the teeth. The rest of him is kohrabi. I drew the eyes with edible food coloring markers.
I also made a Domo "Taiwanese Meat Sauce" (lower right corner) by using Shitake mushrooms as his eyes, mashed beets as his mouth, and teeth hand cut from a thin kohlrabi slice. The Domo cake on the left corner was brought by a friend.
Tonight, I'll be headed to Uni Sashimi Bar with Bryan. It will be the first time I'm trying it since Chef Tony Messina joined on. I haven't tasted his cooking since 2009 when he won the S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef's competition in New England. He was working in the burbs for awhile, but just last year joined Uni Sashimi Bar.
I can't wait!
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